Devin Haney: There’s something wrong with Ryan Garcia

NEW YORK – Bill Haney mockingly presented Ryan Garcia with a gift Thursday during the final press conference for Garcia’s 140-pound title fight with his son.

Garcia grabbed the copy of “Psychology For Dummies” and immediately tossed it off the stage at Barclays Center. Haney’s father and trainer nonetheless noted that he isn’t buying Garcia’s disturbing behaviour as evidence that he is mentally unfit to fight Saturday night for Devin Haney’s WBC super lightweight title.

Bill Haney believes that Garcia has attempted to con their team and the public into thinking this is a legitimate meltdown from a polarising opponent who has been very open about his mental health struggles. Devin Haney disagreed with his dad’s perspective after witnessing more of Garcia’s strange antics Thursday.

“There’s something wrong with him,” Devin Haney told a group of reporters after the press conference. “I don’t know what’s going on, but that shit is not normal. We all know that.”

The 25-year-old Garcia, clad in a bulletproof vest, demonstratively sang about Jesus when it was his turn to speak at the podium. He later yelled at a member of Haney’s team about the antagonist’s mom sliding into Garcia’s DMs and threatened to force oral sex on that team member.

Garcia’s conduct encapsulated a promotion that has been cringeworthy even by boxing’s boorish standards.

Promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Eddie Hearn and their PR teams were wise enough at least to keep the fighters apart Thursday. They didn’t pose for photos largely because Haney struck Garcia to the side of his face during a heated exchange while they promoted their DAZN Pay-Per-View main event atop the Empire State Building in Manhattan on Tuesday.

They were relegated to talking trash and bet $500,000 per pound on whether Garcia would come in overweight Friday afternoon at Barclays Center, the home arena of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

Garcia (24-1, 20 KOs) predicted that Haney (31-0, 15 KOs) won’t stand in the center of the ring and trade with him because the heavily favored fighter will be entirely too wary of his power.

“We’ll go in the center of the ring,” Garcia said. “We’ll see what you do. Nobody’s worried about that. Go run, go fucking go to the center, whatever the fuck you want. I’m gonna hunt you down and I’m gonna fucking knock you out.”

Haney, who dominated powerful southpaw Regis Prograis in his last fight, promised that he will gladly commit to facing Garcia on the inside.

“The talking is almost done,” Devin Haney said. “The antics is almost done. This is not an easy fight, but this is a fight that I will make look easy. Through all the antics, through everything, I kept my blinders on and I stayed focused. I had my tunnel vision and on Saturday it will show. All his antics, all this stuff he’s been doing will betray him and it will show.”

Bill Haney promised another dominant performance from his 25-year-old son, who dropped Prograis (29-2, 24 KOs) in the third round of Haney’s 140-pound debut and shut him out on all three scorecards December 9 at Chase Center in San Francisco.

“All [these] games that he thought that he was playing on the people … it didn’t work with me and Devin,” Bill Haney said. “We stayed focused. There’s no excuses. Come Saturday night, put your kids to bed. It’s 18 and over because what I’m sending Devin to do to him shouldn’t be on TV.

“They have violated everything about boxing, including throwing the book, disrespecting the sport, disrespecting religion. And for that, all gloves are off. If him and his team are really who they say they are, come to the center of the ring. Come to the center of the ring. Don’t run. Don’t run, because Devin is coming to do bodily harm to him.”

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